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Aaron Donald Is Now the Odds-On Favorite in Latest NFL DPOY Odds – Who’s the Best Bet?

Curtis Rush

by Curtis Rush in NFL Football

Dec 14, 2020 · 4:05 PM PST

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald walking onto the field
LA Rams DT Aaron Donald is a heavy favorite to win DPOY heading into Week 15 or the 2020 NFL season. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire)
  • LA Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has the best DPOY odds at -160, but he’s not a slam-dunk
  • Cleveland’s Myles Garrett has moved into second at +400
  • TJ Watt still lurking in the background in third

Aaron Donald has jumped back into favorite status after a solid Week 14 outing as the LA Rams routed the New England Patriots 24-3. Meanwhile, TJ Watt’s Pittsburgh  Steelers were manhandled by the Buffalo Bills in a 26-15 defeat, which dropped Watt’s stock back into third-place on the board.

Entering Week 14, Donald’s and Watt’s NFL DPOY odds continued to shorten, when Watt maintained a slim lead over the two-time winner. But Aaron has bounced back into favorite status after seeing Watt hold the No. 1 position for the past four weeks.

NFL DPOY Odds

Player (team) Odds
Aaron Donald (LA Rams) -160
Myles Garrett (Browns) +400
TJ Watt (Steelers) +490
Xavien Howard (Dolphins) +600
Cameron Heyward (Steelers) +5000
Jalen Ramsey (Rams) +5000
Chase Young (Washington) +5500
Minkah Fitzpatrick (Steelers) +5500
Za’Darius Smith (Packers) +5500
Khalil Mack (Bears) +7000

Odds taken at FanDuel on Dec. 14.

The two players first swapped positions at the end of September, when for the first time this year, Donald was not favored to win NFL DPOY, as Watt’s average odds improved from +1200 to +500 to take over the top spot on the board from Donald, who was listed at +550.

In that Week 3 game, a 28-21 Rams victory over Houston, Watt had one sack, four solo tackles and four QB hits to dominate the defensive side of the ball.

But Donald, who won back-to-back DPOY awards in 2017 and 2018, is making a renewed charge to win for the third time and cement his place in history as the best defender ever. Many argue he’s already there.

Donald, who is now an odds on favorite at  -160,  would join Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt has the only three-time winners of the award. Donald is the NFL’s sack leader at 12.5, but Watt of the Steelers is right behind with 12. When you’re talking QB pressures, Donald is No. 1 and Watt is No. 2. That’s how close they are.

Watt May Be Better

There’s a case to be made that Watt is having a better overall season. Watt is No. 1 in tackles for losses at 21. And you’ve got to him props for that one interception he made this season.

But look out for Cleveland EDGE defender Myles Garrett. Although Donald and Watt draw most of the attention, Garrett is making a surprising run and now commands second-place money at +400, overtaking Watt.

A year ago Garrett was branded a villain after his helmet-swinging attack on Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. This year Garrett has been named the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner for his performance on the field and for his dedication to the community.

The Rise of Garrett

The Cleveland star, who is becoming an offensive nightmare for offenses around the league, has been graded the highest EDGE defender in Week 13, according to Pro Football Focus. And all of his 10.5 sacks this season have been of a high quality. Not a cheap sack in that total, and many of them have ended drives. Garrett is the first player in Browns history with three straight seasons of 10+ sacks.

Only a week ago, Watt had a slim lead on Donald for the DPOY award. But Watt’s stock dropped because he didn’t record a sack against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, even though he did record two QB hits. Watt ran into a force in Buffalo right tackle Daryl Williams, who matched up well against Watt.

In October, Garrett enjoyed favorite status when he overtook Donald as the favorite to win 2020 NFL DPOY after adding two sacks and a forced fumble in Week 7. At the time, Garrett led the NFL in both categories.

A Sack Machine Again

Donald has been on a roll all season. After 13 games, he has recorded 12.5 sacks, which is the number he recorded through all last season. When he won his first DPOY award in 2017, he recorded 11 sacks, and exploded the following season with 20.5 sacks.

Consistency on the Attack

Donald is not on record pace this year, but he is a consistent nemesis for quarterbacks. He recorded his first sack in Week against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. In Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, Donald recorded two sacks on QB Josh Allen. And in Week 5 against Washington, Donald recorded four sacks in a 30-10 victory.

The Other Contenders

Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard and Patriots’ JC Jackson both made their first appearance on the odds board after Week 12, but Jackson has slipped out of the top 10. But Howard’s stock jumped after he notched his ninth interception of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Go With Donald

Donald’s teammate, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, is a big believer in Donald. “People have gotten so spoiled from CONSISTENTLY seeing his greatness that it’s taken for granted,” Ramsey tweeted, going on to say that Donald “has been & remains the best defensive player in this league, if not overall player.”
Best Bet: Aaron Donald (-160)

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